SON Studios is developing an epic mini-series based on the life of First Lady Dorothy “Dolley” Payne Todd Madison, wife of James Madison.
Many are aware of Mrs. Madison’s ability to throw a party that brought friends and foes alike into one room, working together for the common good of the nation. Her “squeezes” at the White House are legendary. In today’s political climate, getting adversaries to converse with respect and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution would be extraordinary enough to warrant a film.
Others are aware that she saved the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington when the British came to burn down the White House. It’s the portrait that still hangs in the White House today.
But Mrs. Madison was so much more…
Raised in a family of governmental leaders who acted with strong adherence to their Quaker faith, Dolley was steeped in the matters that matter. And, like most of the females in her family, the Irish beauty possessed a charming character and quick wit that found warm welcome in a front-row seat for the birth of the greatest nation on earth. Her lifetime spans the administrations of 11 presidents. Her relatives, even before Dolley emerged from childhood, began penning the early documents that would form a government conceived in liberty. Discussions and debates at her dinner table, in the parties of her community, decided the course for the United States of America.
They didn’t get it all right. At the end of her life, slavery still existed despite her family’s work to end it. Even in this, though, Dolley must have found a way to do what she could for, when her only son’s gambling left Dolley penniless in the end, it was her former slaves that came with money and goods to see her through.
Through war and peace, wealth and poverty, sickness and health, Dolley loved James and America until death they did part. That fierce love did more than throw a few parties and save a painting. It resounds through the ages, blazing a trail right into our hearts today. If we follow its path, we’ll find the story of men and women forming a nation.
And we might just find a way to form a more perfect union today.
If history were told in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.